Some Continental European Perspectives on Safeguards in the Case of Deprivation of Liberty in Health and Social Care Settings

Walter Boente


This article highlights perspectives and regulations on safeguards in the case of deprivation of liberty of some continental European countries – namely Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria, and Spain. It illustrates the continent’s disparate approaches to the subject, both those founded in history and in the different legal traditions.

Continental legislation struggles to cope with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The most recent observations of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Germany, in May 2015, recommend for example, that Germany “amend legislation to prohibit involuntary placement and promote alternative measures”. Nevertheless, legislation and practice in these countries might provide some different points of view on deprivation of liberty safeguards.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Walter Boente

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